This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Three randomly drawn winners will receive a $10 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
The secrets must be kept, or the body count will rise…
Are you ready for the eighteen deadly crime thrillers that will keep you up all night?
Shrouded in mystery, these thrillers by eighteen Wall Street Journal, USA Today and International Best-selling authors, will keep you turning the pages for weeks. It’s a limited time collection that will introduce you to your new favorite writers.
What made the art thieves kill? Why does the old case haunt the detective? Can the assassins be stopped?
From Los Angeles to Scotland to Prague, the twists and turns will leave you in a cold sweat, needing to know what happens next with page after page of the deadliest crimes you can imagine.
This mystery, thriller, and suspense boxset is perfect for fans of David Baldacci, James Patterson, Chris Collett, Angela Marsons, and Lisa Gray.
Read an Excerpt from Mortuary School
“You picked this,” Rochelle waved away a twig that had sailed toward her head, “all by yourself?”
“Yeah.” I said the word slowly, making two syllables of it to give myself more thinking time.
I knew what the next question would be, because everybody asked it: Why? Why did I want to go into Mortuary Science?
“Why?” Rochelle said on cue.
There was a long answer. Last year, I’d been asked to do the hair and makeup for a deceased client, and it had turned into a murder investigation. In the process of stumbling onto the killer, I’d also stumbled onto the answers to some of life’s big questions like: Why was I taking up space on the planet? Was there a purpose to my existence? What did I want to be when I grew up?
I gave Rochelle the short answer. “I used to be a beautician, but business was too up and down.”
She shot me a look. “The dead are more reliable?”
“Exactly. How about you? What did you want to do before you got hijacked into the family business?”
“History. I have an undergraduate degree. My goal was to write long, boring books about the Peloponnesian war and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. And, I wanted to teach at the university level.” She sighed heavily. “But it was not to be.”
I was curious. Why would such an intelligent girl allow herself to be coerced into studying for a career she didn’t want? But she sounded so sad, I decided not to pry. When we came to an
open green belt flanked by the two buildings that had been featured on the website, I changed the subject. “This must be part of the original estate.”
“It looks old enough,” Rochelle said.
NEWS FLASH: Dead Silent will be on sale for only $.99 during the duration of this tour.
About the Authors: Books by: Judith Lucci, Fiona Quinn, Sandra Woffington, Michelle Medhat, Dan Petrosini, Greta Boris, David Berens, J.D. Weston, Tom Fowler, Chris Patchell, L.K. Hill, Gavin Reese, K.C. Sivils, Tom Schneider, Elleby Harper, Dwayne Gill, James Harper, Jay Tinsiano, and Jay Newton
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promottions. Cherry Christensen will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Doctoral student Hannah Wagganer has big dreams of leaving her hometown of Glen Arbor behind to teach at a large university. That is, until Jasper Morgan, the new mail carrier, arrives in town. Not only does he send Hannah’s heart racing, but he creates an instant bond with her cat, Jingles.
While Hannah is busy preparing for the church’s candlelight Christmas Eve service and running the family store, she keeps bumping into Jasper—right in front of the prying eyes of the locals, who suspect there’s more going on than business as usual.
But then, a series of unexpected blessings occurs that changes the town’s focus: first, an anonymous donor pays to have the church furnace repaired, and then other locals suddenly find solutions to their problems. Is it coincidental, or the work of a secret angel?
Read an Excerpt
“The meal was wonderful, and so was the company,” Jasper answered, turning briefly to catch Hannah’s eye.
“Glad to hear,” Sabela said, grinning. “Be right back.”
Hannah rolled her eyes. “Now you’ve gone and done it. We’ll be the talk of the town by tomorrow morning.”
“That’s one time I won’t mind being in the spotlight.”
The heat in his voice melted her insides to mush. “You’re crazy.”
“Uh-oh,” Sabela said, approaching their table. “I bet you weren’t supposed to figure that out until he had you completely under his spell.” She handed him the credit card and winked at Hannah. “Thank you and come back soon.”
Hannah laughed and put on her coat. Exiting the restaurant, frigid air smacked her cheeks as the door closed behind them. She pinched her collar tighter, stepping beside Jasper on the way back to the shop.
“I’m sorry if I embarrassed you in there,” he said, kicking a chunk of ice with the toe of his boot.
“It isn’t the first time.” She listened to the faint sound of a snow blower off in the distance, remembering other occasions when Sabela instigated rumors about Hannah’s love life. She quirked a smile, realizing fantasy was more gossip-worthy than reality, and perhaps Sabela’s meddling would somehow prove beneficial in the future.
“Is that a good smile or an ‘I’m plotting my revenge on him’ smile?”
She hastened her pace as Deer Crossings came into view. “I’ll never tell.”
“Hey, wait,” Jasper called out, his footsteps stomping behind her. “That’s not reassuring at all.”
About the Author:
Cherry resides in the Mitten State with her husband of 19 years and a tabby cat named Caden. A true Michigander, she points at the palm of her right hand when telling people where she lives, drinks Vernors ginger ale when she’s under the weather, wears shorts and a sweatshirt at the same time, and measures distance in minutes, not miles. She also cheers for her favorite football team, the Michigan Wolverines. Go Blue!
A confirmed night owl, Cherry wholeheartedly agrees with whoever said, “I could be a morning person, if morning happened around noon.” It’s no surprise then she prefers to write in the evening. She’s a bit of a pantser writer, meaning she dreams up stories without using an outline, so every day is an exciting adventure as she waits to see where the characters lead her next!
A lifelong avid reader, Cherry turned to writing as a creative outlet. Drawing partly from her own experiences, and partly from her wild imagination, she weaves romantic tales with a smidgen of religion and a hint of mystery. Cherry’s first novel, The Fearful Heart, debuted in 2014, and she has never looked back. She continues to grow as an author, learning more about the writing craft with each book.
This vivacious personal story captures the heart and soul of modern Iceland. Born in Reykjavik on the eve of the Second World War, Sverrir Sigurdsson watched Allied troops invade his country and turn it into a bulwark against Hitler’s advance toward North America. The country’s post-war transformation from an obscure, dirt-poor nation to a prosperous one became every Icelander’s success. Spurred by this favorable wind, Sverrir answered the call of his Viking forefathers, setting off on a voyage that took him around the world.
One memorable incident took place [in 1968] during our drive through Anbar province in Iraq. The place was unheard of when I motored through, but after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, this Sunni stronghold of Saddam Hussein’s became world renowned for insurgency and suicide bombings. Even during my days, traveling in this neighborhood was dicey. While guessing my way through the desert of Al Anbar, we passed a ghastly sight. It was the charred remains of what looked like a small industrial complex. The scene evoked news articles about an Israeli air raid on an Iraqi nuclear research facility. I knew we shouldn’t be there, but there was no other way out than to keep driving. Soon after, a military patrol pulled up alongside. I stopped the car, and we all got out to show them exactly who we were, a family of dumb, lost foreigners.
A soldier peered into my car. He started shouting angrily in Arabic, his finger jabbing at the camera on the back seat. They hustled us all back into the Peugeot, I in the driver’s seat, Monika next to me, while Steinn shared the back seat with the soldier. I felt something hard poke at my spine. I glanced at the rearview mirror and realized the object was the muzzle of the soldier’s machine pistol. The drive lasted an hour at most, but it seemed like eternity. To prevent an accidental burst from the gun, I took it slow and easy on the desert tracks.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sverrir Sigurdsson grew up in Iceland and graduated as an architect from Finland in 1966. He pursued an international career that took him to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the U.S. His assignments focused on school construction and improving education in developing countries. He has worked for private companies, as well as UNESCO and the World Bank. He is now retired and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and coauthor, Veronica.
Veronica Li emigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong as a teenager. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University. She has worked as a journalist and for the World Bank, and is currently a writer. Her three previously published titles are: Nightfall in Mogadishu, Journey across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home, and Confucius Says: A Novel. Her website is www.veronicali.com.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Parker Fairchild will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
On a Caribbean cruise, a platter full of cookies, and a shot of Christmas magic yields a perfect pairing.
Chemist and budding romance writer Olivia Chasen is on a cruise to avoid spending Christmas with her beautiful twin sister and new fiancé—Olivia’s ex. Now, thanks to her lonely, intoxicated ramblings on Santa’s lap, her fellow passengers think she’s in love with a fictional character.
Former Navy SEAL Commander Jace Morse has dealt with plenty of unusual situations in his career, but he’s never had the honor, the pleasure, or the privilege of being a beautiful and intelligent woman’s fantasy hero come to life. While he hasn’t officially met the sexy chemist, he’s sure eager to explore the chemistry that’s sizzling between them.
Bringing the charming SEAL together with the skeptical Olivia is going to take more than just Christmas cookies and a little help from Mrs. Claus; it’s gonna take a heaping dose of Christmas magic.
She stopped as she struggled to whirl around. “Me?” She touched her chest with a dramatic flourish she didn’t know she possessed.
A powerful spotlight illuminated her; its heat burned her already flushed face.
She pressed a clammy palm to her chest. “How do you know my name?” The haze in her mind was paralyzing all cognitive function.
“My dear girl,” Santa chuckled, “you should know by now that Santa knows everything and everyone,” he tapped an index finger to his temple.
Santa Claus turned to address the waiting line. “Girls, Boys, Moms, Dads, everyone, if you don’t mind waiting for a brief moment, I’d like for Olivia,” he pointed a white gloved finger at her, “to please come up here on stage, and tell me what she wants for Christmas.”
She stood dumbfounded as the audience and the people in line clapped and chanted her name, “Olivia! Olivia! Olivia!”
Oh no! What was she going to do? She couldn’t possibly go up onto that stage. She was far too shy to address a theater full of people.
But if she didn’t go that would be so unexciting and so like the old Olivia.
But she wasn’t unexciting! She was the new Olivia, and she was exciting! And she wanted to have fun! Correction: She was determined to have fun. Besides, she’d never see these people—her fellow passengers—ever again.
About the Author:
Parker Fairchild is a social media copywriter, a freelance writer with multiple writing credits, and a model. Recently, she Cnished writing a client’s memoirs, which will be published in the next few months.
A Virginia native, she and her husband have their own shipboard romance as they met on a cruise ship tender in Maui, and as her mom is fond of saying, “they haven’t stopped talking since.” When she’s not busy playing with words, she loves spending time with her husband and family in Arizona where she now resides.
I’d like to welcome author Cory Mortensen and thank him for introducing himself in the interview. Cory, here’s the microphone:
What is something you’ve lied about?
My age, my weight, my fastest mile, why I was speeding, why I’m late, why I didn’t follow up… How much time do we have?
Who is the last person you hugged?
My wife. We escaped Arizona’s 115 degree days and headed to Minnesota to enjoy the summer. She had to fly home early for work and I decided to drive the route recorded in The Buddha and the Bee. When I arrived home around 1 a.m., she was waiting up for me. We’d been apart almost 3 weeks. She opened the door when I pulled up and I gave her a big hug.
What are you reading now?
Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
This just came to me.
I was out hiking in the mountains and was fortunate enough to remember it. I was just tossing words and phrases together. Cut-and-pasting the various ideas in my mind. I thought the title needed to be something that was precise in what was behind the cover. “Boy Rides Bike West” or “Peddling West,” but I couldn’t bring myself to that. I then asked myself: what are people fond of?
Mother Earth. Check.
During this process I thought of my old company, how did that name come about? EKHO. I later started the Bee-fit line. The models were the Worker Bee, Busy Bee, and Queen Bee, and the storage case was the Bee Hive. So I started thinking about bees. Everyone likes bees — they are good, they pollinate, they are part of conspiracies — I like all these things.
When I got home, my wife mentioned she wanted a Buddha statue by the pool and bam, it clicked. The Buddha and the Bee. I ran to my office and wrote it down. Brilliant. Taking to my computer, I googled it and as if pre-ordained, there was in fact a quote by the Buddha about Bees and it 100% worked for my story.
“As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the color and fragrance of the flower; so do the wise move through the world.”
Share your dream cast for your book.
Right away I went to the cast of Roadside Prophets, directed by Abbe Wool. This group is going to age me as I don’t know any of the younger actors out there today.
Cory Mortensen – Sam Rockwell
Wes Mortensen – Albert Finney
Mike – Matthew McConaughey
Trailer park group – John Leguizamo (Fernando), Ann Dowd, Luis Guzman
Copy sales guy – Jonah Hill
Don – Peter Falk
Hot Sulphur Springs group – David Arquette, Ed Norton, Debi Mazar, Sarah Paulson, Kevin Bacon (Ranger). The fighters would be Chuck Liddell and Oleg Taktarov.
Driver in Utah – Kevin Costner
Bike Shop owner – Greg Lemond
Little old lady in Nevada – Phylicia Rashad
All motel people would be the same person just to mess with everyone – Tim Roth
Harley guy who took my picture – Danny Trejo
…But this is NOT a typical blah-blah-blah memoir
Planning is for sissies. A solo bike ride across the country will be filled with sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and 80 degree temps every day, right? Not so much. The Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, an alkaline desert, and the Sierra Nevadas lay miles and days ahead. Disappointment with unrealized potential, and the thirst for what’s next drew farther away in the rotating wide-angle shockproof convex rear-view mirror.
“I will ride my bike down a never-ending ribbon of asphalt wearing a backpack.”
Cory Mortensen began his bike ride across the United States from Chaska, Minnesota, to Truckee, California, without a route, a timeline, or proper equipment. Along the way, he gained more than technical skills required for a ride that would test every fiber of his physical being and mental toughness. Ride along as he meets “unusual” characters, dangerous animals, and sweet little old ladies with a serious vendetta for strangers in their town.
Humor ■ Insight ■ Adventure ■ Gratitude ■ Peace
From long stretches of road ending in a vanishing point at the distant horizon, to stunning vistas, terrifying close calls, grueling conditions, failed equipment, and joyous milestones he stayed the course and gained an appreciation for the beauty of the land, the genius of engineering and marvel of nature.
Though the Oregon Trail Motel didn’t offer breakfast, it did have coffee and a stack of foam cups in the front office.
I wasn’t that hungry, still pretty bloated from the beer, noodles, and MSG I had for dinner.
Hanging around the motel sipping cups of watered-down coffee, watching as the sun rose over the dusty town, bustling with early morning activity, I waited for the coffee to do its trick before checking out.
When nature called, I preferred a bathroom with an abundant amount of toilet paper over squatting behind a tree. I waited on the curb outside my door.
Perhaps a conversation regarding bowel movements wasn’t classy this early in the morning, but real nonetheless. When you found yourself reading a book about someone biking cross-country, you might otherwise ask yourself: Where did they go to the bathroom whilst out on the open road?
If the sudden need to shit arose on the road, you could only hope there was a bush, tree, or berm to hide behind. The other option was to keep walking as far away from the road as you could until you were out of sight, or at least blurry. Of course, without the proper equipment (toilet paper), things could get messy. You might find yourself sacrificing a sock. Personally, I had a dresser drawer of mismatched cycling socks at home.
Public options, if you were lucky enough to be in a town or city when things started moving, were:
Restaurants: Now, I would stay clear of anything fancier than a Cracker Barrel. The best were fast food joints, as the bathrooms were typically really clean and out of sight of the counter (so you could get in and out without running into an employee).
Truck Stops: If you came across one of those truck stop fortresses like a BP or Bosselman, take it. Nobody would give you two looks, even if you were dressed in Lycra. The bathrooms were surprisingly clean, and there was typically an abundance of stalls.
Gas Stations: You knew you were in trouble when you asked the attendant for a key and he said the bathroom was outside around back. Check to see if there was any toilet paper in the room before starting. You might find rust stains on the sink and toilets surrounded by a lake of urine. The whole process would become an exercise in squatting. By no means did you want to make any sort of physical contact with anything in that room. Lift the seat with your shoe, flush the toilet with a hand wrapped liberally with a paper towel. It was probably best to find a tree.
So, you could see why I opted to wait before I left Ogallala.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Cory Mortensen has ridden his collection of bicycles over a million miles of asphalt, dirt, mud, and backroads. In addition to the cross-country journey detailed in this book, he has traveled to over fifty-five countries, cycled from Minneapolis to Colorado solo to raise money for children born with congenital heart defects. He’s completed sixteen marathons on five continents, and survived three days of running with the bulls in Spain.
Cory is a certified Advanced PADI diver, and has enjoyed taking in life under the waves in locations all over the world. In 2003, he took time off from roaming, and accidentally started and built a company which he sold in 2013. That same year he married his best friend and explored the state of Texas for two years. The couple sold everything they owned, jumped on a plane to Ecuador and volunteered, trekked, and explored South America for sixteen months before returning to Phoenix, Arizona, where he works as a consultant and is soon to be a bestselling author.
The Buddha and the Bee is his first memoir in which he shares how a two month leave of absence redefined his life’s trajectory of sitting behind a desk and his decision to break society’s chains so he could live life on his terms.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. RW Reels will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
The Trey Parker Story II: Case of the Lost Child, the second novel in this paranormal thriller series, will make readers keenly aware of the unseen world around them. After hiding away in a small farm town in the Philippines, Trey Parker is compelled to return to the States to assist Detective Landis in finding a lost child. Trey’s wife, Iris, fears that the secret government agency that monitored Trey since his Near-Death Experience and took the lives of the tenants of the Sundance Apartments will be waiting for him upon his arrival. Iris believes Trey leaving so close to her due date is reckless and that he is oblivious to the perils.
Back in Tacoma, Washington, Detective Landis is still unable to cope with the loss of his daughter and his ex-wife Jada, even as the Detective struggles with a new relationship. Landis’s past is not so easy to escape, as Thomas Barstow attains parole and looks for the opportunity to settle the score that can only be resolved through bloodshed.
The lives and souls of all hang in the balance and divine intervention may be only the solution.
Read an Excerpt
“I don’t think you can understand how it feels. Having a miscarriage is not the same as losing an eight-year-old child…”
My infatuation with writing was born before I ever took my first breath, somewhere on the rural plains of Eastern North Carolina, nourished by the adventures of my grandmother’s childhood. From the time I was only four or five years old, her memories gave flight to my imagination and fuel to my curiosities. Her stories widened my eyes to the fascinatingly bizarre in the everyday.
As a young girl, my grandmother would bring her puppy with her to stalk rabbits every morning. The two of them would chase an unlucky long-eared rascal until it escaped into a hollow at the base of a tree, and she would run a stick around the inside of the opening as though churning butter. The spell of the sound and vibration would lure the rabbit out of the tree and into her hands.
Good fiction, inventive and provocative fiction, reverberates in readers and spellbinds them. It can spur surprise, delight, discomfort, and revelation and defy reason. As a storyteller, I strive to help others solve their problems by sharing things that I have read about, heard about, and seen. But I also prize the look on people’s faces when they hear the brilliant punch line of a joke, or when they experience an epiphany that knocks the logical wind out of them. These are the reactions that I live to inspire in my audiences when I write paranormal thrillers.
My obsession with the extraordinary in my writing might also, ironically, stem from my 20-year career in the U.S. Army. I can allow my mind to wander in the extraterrestrial sphere while my love for my country keeps me grounded in domestic affairs. Of all of my accomplishments, serving as a paratrooper in a Special Forces Group and a Field Artillery outfit during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm claims high rank. Few situations force a person to confront his humanity as painfully as going off to war, and this experience taught me both to accept accountability for my actions and to trust others. Eventually, I became a successful Army Recruiter and Station Commander, earning the Top Recruiting Station awards in Dallas and Seattle Recruiting Battalions. North Carolina Central University granted me a Public Service Award for my work in the local community. And currently, I serve fellow veterans as an HR Specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Other passions of mine include playing chess, photography, traveling, and indulging in my contrarian nature by instigating debate. Spending time with my wife tops the list of my life’s privileges, however. Whether I am entertaining her with my emulation of Laurence Olivier as Marcus Crassus or protecting her from an elk during one of our photography excursions in the wild, I treasure her companionship and affection.
When I was twelve years old, I announced to my Aunt Becky and Cousin Tony that I wanted to write a book. They stared at me in astonishment. The world of publishing was an enigma to simple country folks in Beaufort, North Carolina in 1982. These days I am achieving my dream with the ebook, a medium through which I can express my individuality without sacrificing my voice to expectations of marketability, popularity, and deadlines. My goal is to create an opportunity for escapism that is bold and absolute.
My first experience with getting published, was a collaborative effort in a self-help book for moms, The One Thing Every Mom Needs to Know. The book was extremely successful: number one, international bestseller in several categories and in six different countries. Although the writing format for that book was extremely structured, I walked away from that experience believing I could write.
Later that same year I had an amazing opportunity to participate in a writing retreat in Hawaii. I went with an open mind and an open heart, and there When Lions Roar was born.
I have found that writing is a major stress reliever and a great source of healing. For me, it doesn’t matter if I am writing in my morning pages, writing an article or creating a book. It is all a deep healing process and an incredible creative outlet for me.
I never thought of myself as a creative person until I began to write. Even the things I write just for me allow me to express myself, my visions, my soul in a creative way. Writing helps me organize my thoughts. It helps me find my true voice and expression as they bubble up as words on a page. Sometimes I’m quite surprised, by what ends up on a page, but I trust it is there for a reason. It is there for me or for another who comes across these words.
I try to write every day, even if it’s just my meandering thoughts in the moment. Some of my best ideas have come from writing with no end game in mind.
So far, I have found that fiction writing affords me a lot more freedom. I can just let it flow and allow for whatever comes. For me, writing fiction sparks more creativity and imagination to come forth. The African Folklore, magical realism section of When Lions Roar was a huge stretch for me creatively. I have always been intrigued with authors who can weave the real and the make-believe skillfully, making the transitions seamless and drawing the reader in with enough intrigue that they willingly suspend their belief in order to come along for the ride.
Ultimately, I write to express myself creatively. I am still discovering my unique voice and my message in this world. Writing creates a space of stillness and quiet that enables my voice to come through without overthinking, without self-censorship, without trying to get it right. Writing brings clarity to my voice, my thoughts, and my beliefs. It is extraordinary what I uncover through my writing. It has the power to heal and uncover hidden nuggets I never knew were buried deep inside. It is a process where I get to face my truth and come out a different person on the other side.
I believe that everyone has access to their own healing and discovering their truth through creative expression, writing is not the only medium for this opportunity. Any creative outlet you choose provides a restorative result. It is my desire for every woman to fall in love with her unique creative expression.
GENRE: Women’s Fiction
Two women from different lands, each struggling to survive; a child’s mysterious disappearance will alter both their lives forever…
Maggie has become unrecognizable to herself, succumbing to the predictability of being a mother and wife. Every day she reminds her daughter to brush her teeth, has the same conversation with her husband about what’s for dinner. Maggie struggles to cope with the disenchantment of the monotonous tedium that has become her life. Despite her boredom, when her husband David is called on assignment to South Africa, Maggie resents having to rearrange her life just because David has decided they all need to traipse halfway across the globe.
While on safari, Maggie awakens one morning to a mother’s worst nightmare; their daughter Hannah has gone missing. Just when things can’t get any worse, Maggie is confronted with the harsh truth of her emotionally abusive marriage and what she has allowed her life to become.
When Lions Roar is set against the backdrop of the exotic and intriguing landscape of South Africa, when the country is reeling from the aftershocks of apartheid. Will Maggie find the strength and courage to abandon the fragile ties of her marriage and confront her self-destruction in time to save the life of her daughter?
I moved from the hall into the kitchen. Without a moment’s hesitation, I reached for the cabinet door, the one that is closest to the refrigerator, the one that contained my relief. I reached for the bottle. It slid off the shelf with a satisfying sound, but I quickly realized it only had a sip or two left. Damn it, not nearly enough. I padded out to the garage where we keep all our spares. Just the way David likes it: spare toilet paper, spare baggies, backups of all our canned goods, and for me, of course, a generous backup supply of alcohol. I grabbed my favorite vodka and headed back inside. On the way in, I noticed a candy wrapper on the floor of the garage—a Dum Dum wrapper, to be exact—Mystery Flavor, if I was not mistaken.
I’ll pick that up later, I thought to myself. My hands were a bit full. And right then, I had more important things to tend to.
Back in the kitchen, I pulled myself a nice long pour, then to the fridge for some juice. Damn it, again. I was out of cranberry juice. It would have to be Diet 7-Up today. I topped off my glass with a splash of the soda, and I headed back to the front of the house. I passed the mirror yet again. For the third time that day, I looked into the mirror, but this time I raised my glass, and looking into my own deep blue eyes, I mocked, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
I regarded myself as I took a deep, long drink.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Karen Gruber is an international #1 best-selling contributing author, inspirational speaker, and a Leadership Development Coach for women and moms. She specializes
Young woman running on seaside path. summer time.
in inspiring moms to realize their potential as mothers, women, and leaders. Karen has had extensive specialized training in parenting, feminine spirituality, and leadership. Over the past 15 years she has provided innovative leadership coaching for moms and has dramatically transformed her own life.
Sharing her life with her husband Jim and daughter Jaymie, presenting her message to other women, and traveling the world bring her the greatest joy.
She is the founder of The Inspired Mama, a company located in gorgeous Denver, Colorado that focuses on the inspiration, leadership, and wellbeing of women and moms.
When Lions Roar is Karen’s debut fictional work. She is freakish about Christmas lights and loves to play Baccarat.
Today, I welcome Barb Jones. Barb has some words for us:
Ever wonder what it’s like to……
How many of you have ever wondered what it’s like to try something new? Be bold? Be daring? The sky’s the limit! Creativity gives us that opportunity to try something new. Recently, I received an email from a new reader, who shared with me the fact that she never thought about writing until she joined the Release Party for Queen’s Ascension. The fact that I am usually caught saying “Pen to paper” gave her the motivation she needed to write a short story.
As she shared with me, it was a short story (her words) because it was really a bedtime story meant for her child. But she wrote another one. And another one. Not only did she tell these bedtime stories to her child each night, but after two weeks, she had enough stories to try to put together for a children’s bedtime collection. Let me just say, her courage to try something new and the fact that she remembered what I said, “Put pen to paper”, melted my heart! I was moved beyond words at how she tried something new based on something that she heard. I bet she had a little fear, like we all do in trying new things, but that courage she exhibited is what will set her apart from those that have yet to try.
No one should be left wondering what it’s like to…..(fill in the blank), when all you have to do is try. It doesn’t have to be perfect. So, if you have ever wondered what it’s like to tell a story, or try your hand at cooking, anything creative – just try. You might find a new hobby, new interest or even a way to make new friends. And knowing how this year has been, we could always use more friends!
When the darkness was compelling and the heart knew no bounds, was there really a right choice? With Michael’s life hanging in the balance, Amber had a choice: save her star-fated love or keep on the crusade to unite the magical community. For Amber, her fate was sealed even before her birth and it was her destiny to fight the great battle ahead of her. But, when it came to her heart — her friends, her great love — Amber’s torn. Not only was she the Queen, but she was a human in every sense of the word. She was vulnerable. And so the very people — Chloe and Michael — that gave her strength, quickly became her weakness. It wasn’t her fault she loved too much, was it?
Nevertheless, the Tall Dark Man had set a plan in motion that could threaten the very existence of the Blood Prophecy. Would he gather his dark forces and succeed in destroying Amber once and for all? Or, would she assemble her powerful friends and save the world?
One night when he was making his rounds in the forest to see if he could find any scraps tourists left behind when camping, he heard a soft whisper.
He stilled at the sound of his name, and turned around to see no one or nothing in sight.
He was alone.
In the dark.
So, he crouched down and continued to shine the flashlight.
He stopped once more and looked over his shoulder. His forehead crinkled with lines of confusion. “Hexham? Who the hell is Hexham?” His voice was thick with an English accent.
The bodiless voice laughed, and the closer he listened, the more definite the voice became. A woman’s voice spoke to him loud and clear, as if she were standing right in front having a conversation with him.
Briar’s voice quivered, partly from fear and partly from fascination. “Who are you? Where are you?” He shined the flashlight but saw nothing. Complete darkness and trees, that was it.
The woman’s voice laughed mockingly in return. “Who I am is not important—for now. But I am everywhere and nowhere, all the same.”
As the voice spoke, Briar felt a sense of ease overwhelm his body. The fear and anxiety dissipated. For the first time in his life, he felt like he belonged, truly and deeply, just by the sound of her voice.
“You do belong. We are family, a family of witches. The most powerful to have walked the earth. We lost you, but now you are found.”
He looked out to no one in particular, but his shock was evident. “Witches? That’s ludicrous.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I was born in Hawaii, a place rich with culture and storytellers. As a little girl, scary tales about vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, and witches were my favorite kind — much to my mother’s dismay.
The scarier, the better.
My love for the supernatural never went away, even after moving to Seattle, far from Hawaii’s majestic beaches with unusual colors. Nothing compares to the landscapes of Maui, Lanai, or Oahu. But somehow, Seattle stole my heart anyway. It became the place where my love for stories took on a new form, in a book of my own: The Adventures of Little Arthur and Merlin the Magnificent. This book is for kids who love stories, just like I did.
Then I had an idea while sleeping.
One night, my mind began to work overtime. In a dream, I saw a unique storyline involving all the races and an epic battle of good versus evil. It was a modern day plot with a three thousand year old prophecy, The Blood Prophecy. I finished the first book in 2014, The Queen’s Destiny. Two years later, I released The Queen’s Enemy. The last book in the series, The Queen’s Ascension, released on August 17, 2020.
Today, I live in Florida with its beaches and sunshine. But I’m still a Seattle girl at heart. And so all my stories take place in the Northwest.
I always keep to my roots when I write.
Charlotte Stuart is with us today with Campaigning Can Be Deadly. I asked a question, and here is her honest answer:
Why did I choose to write about politics?
I confess…I chose to write about politics in Campaigning Can Be Deadly because I had a target in mind. When you’re writing a mystery, someone is going to die, and I theoretically wanted to knock off a couple of “bad guys.” What you wouldn’t dream of doing in real life, can be satisfying in fiction. Unfortunately, as is so often the case in the real world, good people became the victims. Not everyone gets what they deserve. And not everyone deserves what they get. As the plot developed and became more complex, my original vision of the story also evolved. Victims and survivors were moved around like pieces on a chess board. The only thing that remained constant was knowing the mystery would be solved by the end of the book.
Confession #2: I’m a political junkie. I read the headlines every morning, do a few deep dives on topics I find interesting, and often stew about what’s happening in the world that I think shouldn’t be happening. I try to balance that with feel-good stories, like videos about rescue animals finding homes, but there are some distressing topics that I can’t resist. For example, as someone who lives on the water in the Pacific Northwest, I care about our environment and worry about damage from oil spills and other sources of pollution. When I was brainstorming campaign issues for this mystery, I quickly landed on creating a Congressional race where big oil was supporting one candidate and an anti-oil activist student was trying to sway the election in the opposite direction.
Keep in mind that I write lighthearted mysteries that I want readers to find amusing as well as interesting. Achieving the right balance between serious themes and humor is like jumping from stone to stone when crossing a stream. Picture the stream as the serious storyline and the rocks as touchpoints for laughter. My “touchpoints” are setting and characters. My Discount Detective Agency – Vigilance You Can Afford – immediately alerts readers to the fact that this isn’t your traditional PI story. Still, what always starts as a minor investigation appropriate for a detective agency located in a shopping mall, quickly morphs into something larger, with a smattering of danger and a few laughs along the way. In addition, my characters all have their quirks and flaws, although they are also good people and, hopefully, likeable. And, yes, they are composites of friends, family and colleagues, all of whom have their own human quirks and flaws, with a little creative license thrown in for good measure. I thank them for the inspiration!
Another motivation for writing about politics was to highlight the election process. I believe it’s important for people to be involved in determining their own destinies by voting for people who will fight for the safe and healthy future we all want and deserve. And I admire the committed volunteers who devote themselves to working for causes and people they believe in. That’s what a democracy is all about.
In the final analysis, why write about politics? So I can create a world in which justice triumphs, the bad guys get what they deserve, and readers get a few laughs and closure. Oscar Wilde said “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” If art influences how we see life, then maybe we need to read more upbeat stories with happy endings. It’s worth a try.
GENRE: Mystery, Female PI
What begins as a prank ends in murder.
The campaign for the U.S. Congressional seat was referred to in the press as “Mr. Smith goes to Washington versus the carpetbagger.” The popular local candidate gets the majority of endorsements, but his opponent’s wealthy, out-of-state family is willing to do whatever it takes for him to win.
Penny-wise Investigations, a discount detective agency located in a mall, is hired to find out who is stealing the local candidate’s political signs. Two of their investigators, Cameron Chandler and Yuri Webster, not only catch the thieves in the act, they find a body next to a pile of stolen signs, proving that Campaigning Can Be Deadly.
The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win
without proving that you are unworthy of winning. – Adlai Stevenson
Billed by the press as “the carpetbagger versus Mr. Smith goes to Washington,” the contest between the two opposing candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives demonstrated the power of money in a campaign. With huge resources behind him, the “carpetbagger” became a household name overnight by bombarding the urban Washington State district with ads and flyers attacking his opponent. “Mr. Smith,” on the other hand, already a well-known local politician who had won most of the endorsements, tried to ignore the smear campaign from his opponent by consistently focusing on policy.
As the election drew near and polls suggested the race was too close to call, the candidate who had tried so hard to remain above the fray came out with an ad aimed at discrediting his opponent for moving into the district to run for office. Immediately the press jumped on the change in tactics. They tarred both candidates with the same brush and labeled the race as one of the most negative ever run in the state. It made good headlines.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart has a passion for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. Her first discount detective mystery, Survival Can Be Deadly, was a Foreward INDIES finalist. Why me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish was a semi-finalist for the Chanticleer Murder and Mayhem contest before it was published. She began her career in academia with a PhD in communications. Then, she and her husband decided to build a commercial boat and go fishing for salmon in Alaska. Currently she is the VP for Puget Sound Sisters in Crime and lives and writes on Vashon Island in Washington State’s Puget Sound. She spends time each day entertained by herons, seals, eagles and other wildlife.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Julianna Keyes will be awarding a physical $25 Amazon GC, (US/Canada only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Reese Carlisle hates her life. Three years after her father’s arrest for one of the largest embezzlement schemes in history, twenty million dollars is still missing, and the world believes she knows where it is.
Two years after her brother’s death, they still think she killed him.
One year later, she’s still hiding.
When the loneliness is too much, she seeks out strangers for one dark night, no questions asked. She makes up a name, puts on a disguise, and tries to forget.
One night she meets a new man. She tells him her name is Denise, she’s a dental assistant, and she loves dogs. He tells her she’s smart, she’s pretty, she’s funny. Things she hasn’t heard in too long.
Things that are too good to be true…
Read an Excerpt
I enter my dark apartment, the wall of windows providing enough ambient light to see my uninspired, decidedly minimal decor. I drop my purse and press my back to the door, sliding down to the floor. My black skirt rides up my thighs and my legs flop apart, knees rubbery, ankles weak.
I’d like to think I had too much wine, but that’s not true.
Not even after a night of halfway decent sex am I this shaky.
I know what the issue is.
My gaze flickers to my purse the way it would to a ticking time bomb. I fumble with the clasp before retrieving the shiny black room key and turning it over and over in my hand like a magician with no trick.
I yank off the cheap wig. I have a closet full of them, thanks to my brother’s short-lived career in theater management. They’re one of the few items that were returned to us after the raid. At least they came in handy. They help me become Harriet and Isabel and Jess. People nothing like the person I was. And most definitely nothing like the woman I am.
The stranger wouldn’t want this woman. He likes redheads with brown eyes who laugh when they’re not supposed to. My once-bleached hair is back to its natural black, my fingernails haven’t been painted in three years, and I only bother to shave my legs when I have a date. I don’t think the stranger would know what to do with this girl. He could read a million newspaper stories exposing my father’s crimes and hypothesizing about mine and never find the truth.
Liar. Thief. Murderer. Whore.
It’s in there somewhere.
About the Author: Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She’s been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills—or terrifies—her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, though not necessarily in that order, and writes sizzling stories with strong characters, plenty of conflict, and lots of making up.